Congressman Tim Ryan Announces Support For Iran Nuclear Agreement


By: Tim Ryan
By: Tim Ryan
Date: Sept. 9, 2015
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Foreign Affairs

Congressman Tim Ryan made the following statement in support of the Iran Nuclear Agreement:

I was honored to travel to Israel during my time in Congress and saw firsthand the constant threat the people of Israel are faced with each and every day. I will never forget standing on the borders of the country, looking out and gaining a deeper understanding of the dangers and risks that exist. Iran's nuclear capability is a matter of life and death for Israel; and for that reason, this agreement has rightly been a passionate issue for so many in the United States and across the world. It is with this understanding that I approached my decision on the Iran Nuclear Agreement.

Since its announcement, I have taken the time to carefully review the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), hear from my constituents, receive classified briefings and discuss both sides of this agreement with officials and experts. This deal is not perfect and I have not arrived at my decision lightly, but after careful consideration, I believe this agreement is our best available option to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon, stringently monitor any nuclear activities with an independent, respected international agency and implement this deal with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China as our partners.

Most importantly for me, because I don't trust Iran, supporting this deal strongly positions America should Iran violate this agreement and continue to pursue a nuclear program. If we give diplomacy a chance, and Iran violates the agreement, we will have the support and backing of the international community. There is now a bright line and should Iran cross it immediate sanctions will return to their economy from all of these countries and, if needed, incur the wrath of the international community led by the United States. This approach puts us on the moral high ground and aligns us with the other large and powerful countries of the world. I am convinced that this is the smartest approach for our country. And from my position on the Defense Appropriations Committee, I stand ready to aggressively monitor Iran's compliance and make sure we are prepared to firmly and immediately respond to violations of the agreement. I am also convinced that if this agreement fails there will be no deal at all, which is why I will vote against legislative attempts to undermine this important deal.

It is instructive to look at what happens should this deal fall through. America would be blamed by the world community for sinking the deal, the stiff sanctions would be removed and Iran would immediately restart its dangerous nuclear weapons program without anyone in the entire world monitoring their progress. In a matter of months America, probably acting alone, would have to take military action to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. We would have lost the moral high ground because we didn't try diplomacy and the support of the international community would wane. Not trying diplomacy puts us in a bad strategic position, moves us closer to military action and all but assures that, if necessary, we would be combating Iran with a very small coalition. I spent much of my career in Congress dealing with the mess that was created by the U.S. going alone into the Iraq war: the lives lost, the veteran suicide rate, and the trillions in national debt we accumulated and passed to our children. I do not want to make that mistake again. I want to try to make peace and only choose war as a last resort.

I was pleased to see that this agreement included an extension of Iran's "breakout period," the time it would take to acquire the material necessary to construct a nuclear weapon. It is currently believed to be between two and three months, and this agreement will extend that period to one full year, allowing the United States and the international community to better respond to a potential threat.

Furthermore, the JCPOA commits Iran to a stringent and comprehensive monitoring system that allows the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor Iran's centrifuge facilities. The additional transparency and understanding will grant the international community access and a timely verification process regarding Iran's actions. Without a deal this process will not exist.

I have close friends on both sides of the issue, and they are people of high integrity and hold a deep concern for the greater good. I have a great deal of respect for those who are concerned about this deal, but in my judgement, this agreement gives the United States and the international community the best opportunity to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I know firsthand how important the United States' relationship with Israel is when it comes to both our nations' national security. That is why I was reassured that the JCPOA preserves the continuation of sanctions arising from Iran's non-nuclear activities, including their support of terrorist organizations and their numerous human rights abuses. We need to make sure these sanctions stay in place and others are adopted to make it even more difficult for money to get to these terrorist groups.

There is no simple way to negotiate an international agreement or crack down on Iran's nuclear program. I wish it was as easy as some bloviating politicians make it seem. After many years of diplomacy from both Secretaries of State Clinton and Kerry, two presidents, and the international community, this is our best chance for an agreement. We needed the assistance and support of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia China, the United Nations, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to accomplish this historic accord.

Without the increased sanctions from these nations and the international community, Iran would never have come to the negotiating table and agreed to limit their growing nuclear program, which continued to grow even under the existing sanctions. Currently, Iran has over 19,000 centrifuges, most of these came while only the U.S. had sanctions on them. It was when the international community ramped up sanctions that production ceased. It's always better for a group of friends to surround a bully.

The international community understands the importance of bringing Iran to the table to help create a deal that will not only limit Iran's nuclear program but provide the transparency and verification necessary. But before we put American blood and treasure at risk, we need to give international diplomacy a chance to succeed.

I am convinced that this deal is the best way forward to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, ensuring the safety of Israel, and clearing the way for future interactions between the United States and Iran. Let's put America in the smartest and best position to deal with a regime we don't trust and to bravely lead a uncertain and fearful world.